Zootopia-themed Land Blends Breathtaking Technological Innovation with Great Storytelling
Shanghai, September 5, 2023 – Shanghai Disney Resort is a technologically advanced resort destination offering unique experiences blending breathtaking technological innovation with Disney’s extraordinary storytelling. Inside the world’s first Zootopia-themed land, Imagineers continue the Disney tradition of advancing the level of immersive experiences to build a jaw-dropping land representing the best of Disney storytelling powered by state-of-the-art innovative technology.
Sophisticated Audio-Animatronics technology brings characters to life in a vivid art form Disney characters utilizing Audio-Animatronics technology have been an important part of Disney park experiences for decades, reaching an even higher degree of complexity today with the continuous and non-stop development of the technology. In designing and building Zootopia, Imagineers have been applying the latest in Audio-Animatronics technology, reflecting a new generation of fully electric systems to enhance the entire experience throughout, from guests entering the land to when they “hop on” a cruiser in hot pursuit.
Zootopia Transit Authority, located near the civic plaza of Zootopia, has just completed its new state-of-the-art “hyper-tube” used by lemmings on their way to and from work at Lemming Brothers Bank and other businesses. A full-sized giraffe can be spotted running on a treadmill inside Zootopia Fitness, a modern gym in Zootopia. The treadmill belt itself makes up a gym for mice, with two of them running on gears which look like hamster wheels. The three-meter-tall polar bear, Koslov, is standing at the main entrance of Fashions by Fru Fru, snarling at shoppers who get too close.
When guests, also known as rookies in the Zootopia Police Department, enter Zootopia: Hot Pursuit, the major attraction in the new land, they will be welcomed by Officer Clawhauser, just as he is in the Walt Disney Animation Studios film! The boisterous cheetah, easily distracted from work, pauses frequently to talk to the rookies or to himself, raving about Gazelle and the big concert tonight. In the Briefing Room, Chief Bogo orders his new officers to the parking garage to “hop on” the all-terrain cruiser to back up Officers Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, who will later greet the rookies and lead them off in pursuit of Bellwether. Along the chase, rookies will encounter many other Zootopia citizens, many of whom are powered by advanced Audio-Animatronics technology.
From designing to building the land, Imagineers with talents from a wide variety of disciplines collaborated closely with Walt Disney Animation Studios. This was especially true as they brought beloved Zootopia characters to life as Audio-Animatronics figures. By applying the latest in robotic technology with an unprecedented level of attention to detail and artistry, these characters achieve an extraordinary degree of realism, from their costumes to their fur to their incredible lifelike animation. The result is characters that truly feel like they’ve stepped right off the movie screen into our world.
Innovative trackless ride system advances immersive experiences to new heights
Zootopia: Hot Pursuit is fully activated with a combination of leading technologies, all synced in time with a trackless ride system. As a result of constantly pushing the boundaries of the latest technology at Disney, Imagineers can design and accomplish complex environments, enhancing the ability to immerse guests in the stories of Zootopia.
From sliding across the ice of Tundra Town and flying off the track onto the busy streets of Sahara Square to plummeting from the canopies in a gondola in the Rainforest District, guests will enjoy fun-filled turns, spins, slides, and drops in this family-fun attraction on their mission to rescue Gazelle from her kidnapper, Bellwether. As a result of constantly pushing the boundaries of the latest technology, Imagineers have created an experience that will surprise and delight guests of all ages.
Multiple leading and complex technologies applied to activate the entire land
In addition to the technologies behind the land, Imagineers also used the latest technological advancements in the way they designed and developed it. Building Information Modeling (BIM), the process of generating and managing digital representations of structures and facilities, was widely used by Imagineers for many of Shanghai Disney Resort’s attractions. For Zootopia, they also leveraged technology that features real-time testing and feedback cycles to help solve challenges throughout the design process in realizing highly complex structures and facilities.
Characters will come to life not only through Audio-Animatronics technology but also through cutting-edge projection effects. Walt Disney Imagineering has pushed the boundaries of how media-based characters can be brought to life in the physical world. To bring the fast-paced chase story of Hot Pursuit to life, Imagineers had to invent new methods to employ original animation media custom-created at Walt Disney Animation Studios, enabling digitized characters to run and chase right through the middle of dimensional scenes. Throughout the land, from Zootopia Central Station, a metro station with assorted doors for travelers of all sizes, to the Tiger Dance Club, where dancing tigers and other animals can be seen dancing in the upper windows in celebration of Zootopia Day, guests will be immersed in the colorful and vivid world of Zootopia, full of hidden details and surprises!